We all know that hindsight is 20/20 and looking back on your divorce long after it’s finalized will be very different than being in the middle (or beginning) of it. After all, marriage most likely had its own learning curve – so does divorce. However, divorce doesn’t have to be completely painful.
As with many legal situations, knowing a bit more than the average Joe in the beginning can make the process a little smoother. Below are some additional things you should know when filing for divorce.
Having an MIA spouse
Not everyone knows where their spouse is when they file the petition. If this is your situation, you should give the sheriff a copy of the papers so he or she can deliver them to your spouse. In the event that the sheriff can’t find your spouse, you should mail the papers to the most recent address you have. If your spouse receives the papers, there is a form they need to return after they sign it.
What should do if you can’t find your spouse? Try publishing a notice in the local newspaper. Keep in mind that it should be a legal notice and you’ll probably have to ask permission from the Court to publish it.
Is divorce expensive? Yes and no. When you break it down, the fees aren’t too bad. In the beginning, you’ll need to pay a $185 fee to the Clerk of Court for the Petition itself. Your next fee will be to the sheriff if the sheriff is the one who will be delivering the papers. That fee usually runs between $40 and $50.
If you’re having trouble paying any of the fees associated with your divorce, you can apply to the Court in the hopes that they will let you file without paying first. If you do this, you’ll need to provide information regarding your income and expenses. Once the final decree is made, you’ll need to pay a $50 fee.
Next, you’ll have lawyer fees. Due to the nature of these cases, most lawyers ask for a certain amount upfront, though it varies from firm to firm. Most ask for around $500 to get the ball rolling. You’ll find that the cost will go up if you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse can’t get along. Finally, in certain cases, the Court may ask one party to pay for all of the fees; it just depends on the situation.
In an ideal world, you’ll be divorced 90 days from the time your spouse gets copies of the papers. Occasionally, the Court will say that you’re divorced sooner. If there are issues to work out then it could be upwards of a year.
Getting divorced with children
Did you and your spouse have children together? If yes, then the process is about to get a little more complicated. First, you’ll be required to take a class called “Children in the Middle.” After that, you’ll need to make a parenting plan that you and your spouse agree to and hash out child custody and support arrangements.
If you’re feeling confused and lost about your upcoming divorce, please reach out to an experienced divorce lawyer. Cory Goldensoph is an excellent choice for those in the Linn County area. Call Cory today to have an informal conversation about how you should proceed with your divorce case.